On the Cover – Dancing the stories of Origin, Puerto Vallarta’s Azteca Dancers

Nearly every day along the Malecon you’ll see the colourful dancers of the dance and music group Kalpulli Ostokcoatl Chalchihuitlicue arrive dressed in traditional costumes while they perform indigenous and traditional music and dance of the Azteca, Tolteca Chichimeca people.

They put on a show that entices everyone to join in by tapping their foot to the sounds of this ancient beat. Feathers have always played a big part in the traditional ornamentation, in honour of their feathered god Quetzalcoatl; who gave corn so that they could bring order to their world and build great monuments and temples. This is similar to what occurred to the Greeks when the goddess Demeter gave the Hellenes wheat. The wonderful part of this story is that the Greeks and the Mexicans achieved world-class greatness with the building of their architectural wonders. It is recognized that the temples of Mexico are on par with the other greatest temples in the world.

The Great Pyramid of Cholula, also known as Tlachihualtepetl (Nahuatl for “made-by-hand mountain”), is a huge complex located in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico. It is the largest archaeological site of a pyramid (temple) known to exist in the world today. So when it comes time to celebrate the local customs, remember you are doing this in honour of these magnificent people and their world class achievements.

On the Cover: Claudet Morales Alvarado, one of the dancers who performs ceremonial dancing and music of Aztec, Toltec and Chichimeca origin, in her bright aqua costume, can be found with her dance company most days along the Malecon, performing for tourists on the beach. You can also find them at many cultural events.

This group was formed in Puerto Vallarta, in 2006 by Alejandro Tzinacan Tlamatini. He saw the need to share and spread the knowledge inherited by the ancestors with the people in general. The kalpulli (in the indigenous Nahuatl language “Kalpulli” means “large house”) is formed by young people committed to the art and culture of our country. Spreading knowledge of the ancestral ways through ritual-ceremonial dance and contemporary native music developed in the present with our own creative inspiration, they have created a show of sensory magic, awakening the senses of the audience and connecting them to an ancestral Mexican spiritual experience.

Within their musical development they use native percussion instruments such as huehuetls (drum), teponaztles, chicahuaztle (rain stick), river slab stones, turtle shell, etc. They also use wind instruments such as flutes made from different materials including wood, bone, mud and reed, along with whistles of different sounds sizes and shapes.

The dance costumes are made of embroidered woven skins with ornaments, painted with ancient symbols and decorated with beads of chaquira, chaquiron, feathers or skin according to the attire. Feathers of different species of with a connection with the divine are used for the copillis (crowns) according to the rank of the Warrior.

They perform different dances with different rhythms and names. The steps are symbolizing the sowing of the earth with the steps symbolizing earth, water, wind and fire and they imitate the movements of some animals such as the eagle, the deer, the jaguar, the rabbit and the snake.

To learn more about this group visit their facebook at Kalpulli Ostocoatl Chalchitlicue.